Solana's Latest Block Explorer Shoots for Simplicity

The team behind SolanaFM says its overhauled service already has 53,000 signups.

AccessTimeIconNov 20, 2023 at 5:59 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 5:23 p.m. UTC

Blockchains may be transparent, but Solana's data-heavy ledger might be better described as translucent. A new block explorer called Quantum is vying to change that.

Built by the the team behind SolanaFM, the overhauled block explorer prioritizes simplicity in its presentation of what's happening on the Solana blockchain, its developers say. That's a notable difference from many other Solana ecosystem explorers, many of which (including SolanaFM) are detail-oriented at the expense of easy readability.

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  • The service, which already has 53,000 signups, debuts as the entire Solana ecosystem emerges from a prolonged downtrend, led by the rallying price of SOL itself. It's trading at $59 at press time, up from $19 during the depth of the bear market.

    For users wanting to make sense of the on-chain data, these transaction browsers help humans parse the mountains of crucial but imperceptible data that prove X token went to Y address.

    "You don't want to have to be running a sophisticated computer system to be able to" make sense of a blockchain, the former FTX chief Sam Bankman-Fried said during his recent trial (the judge had asked him to explain what block explorers are). "So there are a variety of providers that created websites that listed out in a centralized but easy-to-view fashion all of the transfers on the Blockchains."

    SolanaFM is one of a handful of such companies building these websites for the Solana blockchain, whose transactions are notoriously not "easy-to-view." The high speed blockchain creates reams of unstandardized data that block explorers struggle to present in an intuitive way. Solana ecosystem explorers are nowhere near as streamlined as Ethereum's Etherscan.

    By SolanaFM's own count its eponymous block explorer is the Solana ecosystem's third most popular, behind the first-to-market portal from the Solana Foundation and another from a third-party service called SolScan.

    "We realize our explorer was overbranded" because first-timers thought it was a podcast, SolanaFM CEO Nicholas Chen said.

    He's trying to eat away at the incumbents' "huge market share" by changing his explorer's name to Quantum but perhaps more importantly improving its user experience: basically, its presentation of all that head-scratching data.

    "Users in general get a less detailed UI, but are straight to the point, splashing information that's ESSENTIAL for them to understand what they’re reading in less than 3 seconds," he said.

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    Danny Nelson

    Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.